Monday, October 20, 2008

Khalid: Bad past has cost Selangor RM30 billion

Selangor’s Pakatan Rakyat government alleged that the state could have made up to RM30 billion ringgit in revenue - if not for corruption under the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) administration.
Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim, tabling his budget speech in the state legislature this morning, claimed that the losses were due to “dishonesty, irresponsibility and the lack of transparency” when BN ran the state.

“One example is the release of state land free of charge or with a trade-off, instead of directly developing the land which would have been more profitable,” he said.

State welfare, according to Khalid, was never a priority for his predecessor Dr Mohd Khir Toyo (right), while the ‘zero-squatters’ policy was not about housing development for the poor but to “enrich” some groups.

“The real motive behind the zero-squatter policy was to clear the land to be given to private companies through land development joint-venture enterprise,” he said.

Khalid added that these contracts were given to private companies directly without going through an open tender process, thereby benefitting companies that were incapable of implementing the projects.

“(Contrary to what Umno claims) these policies do not provide business opportunities to the Malays,” he added.

Although Selangor was awarded developed state status in 2005, Khalid said cannot be attributed to the previous government’s policies.

“The development was influenced by regional market trends that encouraged foreign investors like Intel, Motorola, Sony and Matsushita to invest in the state.”

Khalid claimed that the lack of transparency in the distribution of contracts has led to the ballooning of infrastructure costs - roads and public buildings - in the state.

Eye on GLC heads

Chief executive officers of government-linked companies (GLCs) involved in the joint-venture projects also be held accountable for this, he said, and not just Mohd Khir.

“Since we assumed power, the CEOs of these GLCs - when asked to clarify - could not rationalise their decisions which are lopsided against the state. Without shame, they placed the blame on the former MB,” he said.

Khalid was referring to Permodalan Negeri Selangor Bhd, Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor and Perbadanan Kemajuan Pertanian Selangor.

Despite this the CEOs have been allowed to keep their jobs for several reasons.

“We want them to redeem their mistakes and recover the money they lost due to corruption. We will sack them if they cannot do so and we’ll take further action (as well),” he said.

Efforts to clean up the administration are underway, but there are some aspects that require more attention.

“For example I have received complaints that people in the previous government are still seated in tender panels and continue to abuse their position,” he added.

“We will deal with this by directing tender panels in local councils to practise an open tender system that is open to all members of the public.”

No comments: